Fuzzy state law prompts action by legislator

Thursday, August 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SKIATOOK, Okla. (AP) -- A state lawmaker says he plans to introduce a bill that would make it a felony to secretly videotape someone in a school or other public place "where privacy is normally expected."

Rep. Phil Ostrander, D-Collinsville, said present laws need clarification when it comes to incidents such as one in Skiatook, where a former girls' basketball coach is accused of hiding a video camera in a locker room to tape girls undressing, The prosecutor in that case, Osage County District Attorney Larry Stuart, said his job has been complicated because "there's nothing really in the law that covers videoing a person in private."

Ostrander said he agreed to author the legislation after talking with Osage County prosecutors.

"They have indicated to me they are having to look into several areas of the law to find ways to identify ways to prosecute," he said.

Ostrander said there is nothing in present state law that makes it a felony to use video cameras or other electronic equipment to record images of someone in a locker or dressing room.

He said he plans to team with Rep. Joe Sweeden, D-Pawhuska, to author the bill, which will cover not only school dressing rooms but also tanning beds, rest rooms and changing rooms in stores.

Skiatook police began investigating Harry "Noonie" Red Eagle Jr. after a videotape was aired Aug. 7 on Tulsa television station KOTV. Red Eagle appears on the video as he bends over and looks into the lens while hiding the camera in a locker.

Stuart said Wednesday that at least two felony charges will be filed. He said they will deal "with viewing a child in a lewd and lascivious manner and viewing the private parts of a child."

He also confirmed that one of the seized tapes shows nudity.

Asked if a third tape that surfaced about a week ago was more explicit than the first two, Stuart said "it certainly helped me make my decision."

Stuart said he and Police Chief Dan Yancey met with the girls and their parents Wednesday to discuss what kind of cooperation he would need from them to prosecute the case.